Viewpoints: Romney's 'repeal and replace' pledge; 'Socialized medicine' in the U.S.; Pros and cons of expanding Medicaid

Published on August 3, 2012 at 12:45 PM · No Comments

The Washington Post: Romney Still Peddling Phony 'Repeal And Replace'
Greg Sargent already took a crack at Mitt Romney's new "Plan for a Stronger Middle Class," but one thing that he didn't get to shouldn't be ignored: Romney is apparently still campaigning on a "repeal and replace" plan on health care reform (Jonathan Bernstein, 8/2).

The New York Times Economix blog: Where 'Socialized Medicine' Has A U.S. Foothold
Remarkably, Americans of all political stripes have long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (generally known as the V.A. health system). If socialized medicine is as bad as so many on this side of the Atlantic claim, why have both political parties ruling this land deemed socialized medicine the best health system for military veterans (Uwe E. Reinhardt, 8/3)?

JAMA: The Middle Class Tax Break Hardly Anyone Is Talking About
There has been no shortage of attention focused on the scheduled expiration of tax cuts for middle class and wealthy Americans at the end of this year. That's likely to continue to be the case through the election and a potential lame duck session of Congress following it. Yet there's been surprisingly little discussion of the details of the substantial middle class tax break built into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Larry Levitt, 8/2).

The Washington Post: HHS Mandate: President Obama's Broken Promise
First, a major misconception must be cleared up. Specifically, American citizens need to understand that the mandate that became law is the mandate that was originally proposed by the Obama administration. This original version requires employers to provide and pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs in their health-care plans, regardless of religious objection (Ashley E. McGuire, 8/2).

Los Angeles Times: Republican Plan To Cut Medicaid Is Just Plain Mean
Republican leaders are determined to protect rich people from paying higher taxes. Now they also want to reduce health coverage for the poor. You've really got to wonder about these guys (David Lazarus, 8/2).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): The Costs Of Expanding (Or Not Expanding) Medicaid
The cost of the expansions should be measured in three ways: the number of lives saved, the number of lives improved, and the bottom-line cost in dollars and cents.  All of these numbers are very hard to calculate. ... What we can say with more certainty, though, is that insurance coverage both improves and saves lives. We may argue over numbers, but the benefits for people are undeniable (Bob Serno, 8/2).

Houston Chronicle: Texas Is Falling Short In Looking Forward
[Gov. Rick Perry's] intransigence will deprive Texans of generous, and sorely needed, federal funding over the next decade. Meanwhile, our state lawmakers have targeted some of the most vulnerable Texans whom the [Affordable Care Act] seeks to aid, slashing funding for mental health, women's health services and other programs. ... We still have enormous deficits to make up before we can serve the increased numbers with coverage, but we'd be better equipped to face them if our elected state officials would support, rather than decimate, our existing programs (8/2).

Boston Globe: Closed-Door Dealings Yield Big Bills, But Little Scrutiny
The strengths and weaknesses of Massachusetts's single-party-dominated Legislature were on display in the closing days of the session, as House and Senate leaders compromised with each other and Governor Deval Patrick to arrive at reasonable legislation to curb health care costs, even as they rejected his sensible efforts to add more judicial flexibility to the "three-strikes" crime bill. … On the other hand, in a more balanced Legislature there would almost certainly have been more time devoted to open debate on policies with major implications for criminal justice, health care, and the economy -; and citizens could feel more confident that all angles and consequences had been appropriately explored (8/3).

Boston Globe: It's Not Perfect, But New Health Law Is A Start
Now what happens? We finally have a new health care cost-control law this week -; after 17 numbing months of talking, lobbying, and debating. The fact that the Legislature passed a 350-page compromise bill just 24 hours after it was hatched -; a measure that purports to influence one of the most important cylinders in the state's economic engine for the next 15 years -; should make you shudder (Steven Syre, 8/3).

Arizona Republic: Health-Care Lessons From Colorado?
According to published reports, three of the five hospitals treating those wounded in the Colorado theater shooting have pledged to reduce or eliminate the victims' medical bills. Not only that, but millions have been donated to defray the costs. ... It's a little different for people who have the bad luck simply to get sick (E.J. Montini, 8/3).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Health Exchange Questions Linger
For all of the daunting information technology challenges this project involves, creating buy-in from the consumers and businesses who will purchase coverage through the exchange beginning in 2014 is the most important task of all. ... While department officials deserve credit for setting up advisory groups and holding meetings around the state, important details have yet to be finalized or communicated clearly. It's understandable that with scant months before the November deadline, the chamber and other stakeholders are growing anxious (8/2).

Bloomberg: When A Mammogram Is Riskier Than Cancer
What we know is that screening helps women older than 40, with greater benefit for those over 50. Yet women of all ages should be made aware of mammography's risks. Doctors who favor screening should not be afraid to discuss its limitations openly and honestly. Patients expect it and will thank us for it (Handel Reynolds, 8/2).

The New York Times: Was This Death Really Unavoidable?
An article in The Times on Sunday recounted in jarring detail the tragic death of a young woman, an aspiring novelist named Sabrina Seelig, at a hospital in Brooklyn five years ago. Ms. Seelig's family is convinced she was a victim of medical lapses and errors, and troubling details emerged during a malpractice trial this spring. Nevertheless, the trial jury decided that neither the hospital nor an emergency room doctor or nurse had been negligent (8/2).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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